India is under a mass hysteria. It is not only young teenagers, youngsters and the youthful work force but also the 40-ish and 50-ish voters as well as the above 60 crowd termed as senior citizens. If ever there was a common factor that brought all of the above together, it must be cricket. The match between India and Pakistan has started. The media has been salivating for days at the prospect and then outcome of such a match. Not to be left behind, the prime minister of India has entered the fray with his invitation to the Pakistan prime minister and the match is being termed as being a great chance for cricket diplomacy between the two countries.
Every now and then the people of a country need a detour, a distraction from all the problems they usually face. This could be in the form of many things but sport does play a good role. Cricket in India would win hands down against other sports and therefore would also provide the best detour for us to relax for a while and take our minds off the hundreds of things which otherwise are taking our time. The Congress led UPA government has been attacked from all directions because of one scam after the other. The 2 g Raja scam, the Adarsh building scam, the Lok Sabha cash for votes scam. Parliament has been held up again and again in the name of scam after scam. The main opposition party, the BJP, has attacked the government time after time only to find itself in other scandals and scams in Karnataka and at the centre as well. Using the wiki leaks against the UPA and then questioning it when its own members were found wanting have been the script of things here. In all ways, a detour, a distraction could be good for everyone, especially for the government and the main opposition party.
The India-Pakistan match is being seen as a great opportunity for the two countries to come together. The media doesn’t know what to concentrate on, the match, the two prime ministers or the traditional rivalry between the two teams. It is funny that both countries have many things in common and are culturally same than many other countries. If ever India could consider coming together with another country, Pakistan could be considered one of the front runners. But a horrendous partition encouraged by the British in all probability, divided the countries beyond repair. This also speaks as to why a cricket match between the two countries becomes so charged up.
Now cricket is being talked of as a wonderful way to bring these two countries together. How on earth can this happen when so much competition and build up goes into these matches? The British must be laughing. After doing nothing against the partition, they have managed to keep the two countries going at each others throats by teaching them a game they invented. It is another thing that the two countries have now made the game their own and even play it better than the British. Let us keep the British aside for now. We are by now aware of what they did and now need to concentrate on what we are doing. Or rather what certain sections of both countries are doing by giving too much importance to a cricket match! By doing so they are also putting too much pressure on the players of both countries.
If India and Pakistan are really serious about diplomacy they can give visas to the people of the other country to visit their relatives, give citizenship to those who have been living in one country or the other for several years, treat minorities in both countries better, release war and political prisoners, exchange information on terror suspects, and realise that people in both countries have a shared history. This could be the real match that both countries have to play. Leave the cricketers alone. They can’t carry such a heavy weight on their shoulders. Both countries have to work on their internal issues rather than hoping that a cricket match is going to change things. A cricket match is after all a cricket match. As spectators it just helps us to forget our problems and tensions for a little while. Any thing more is a political detour from the truth. I don’t think we need that and I hope the Indian and Pakistani spectators are smart enough to know that.